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Maurice Jones Speaks out on Misuse of Taxpayer Money

Posted: Updated:
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Charlottesville's city manager is breaking his silence. Maurice Jones is under fire right now for his response to a fraud issue involving taxpayer dollars.

Some City Councilors are upset with the five-month lag it took Jones to file a report about a former city official - Stephanie Commander - still using a city-issued cellphone. Commander left the city's electoral board in March 2011. She had the BlackBerry for three years before it was brought to Jones' attention.

First, Jones says the city's internal system failed for three years. Second, he says his failure to report the issue is due to a lack of clear communication about what actually happened.

Jones says the loss stands at $7,000.

"It's always difficult to have something like this happen. Unfortunately we have human beings working in these positions and sometimes human beings don't make the best decisions,” said Jones.

To remedy the issue, Jones says they are looking at internal controls and adding a third at this point. A city cellphone bill goes to the department head first, gets signed, and then goes to a reviewer for a second signature.

Jones also says they are doing an internal cellphone audit right now. Nothing has turned up yet.

Jones has also asked the Charlottesville Police Department to begin investigating the case. Police Chief Tim Longo says he can't comment on it but does say the investigation is still ongoing.

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